Having recently tested with FTDNA (only myself; I finally had to give up on
convincing my parents to test) and also uploaded my results to GEDmatch, two
unexpected gene sources pop up in several of my GEDmatch analyses, neither of
which seems likely to have come via my 0% Portuguese father but both of which
easily make historical sense as coming via my 100% (?) Azorean mother:
1. South American Amerind. Presumably, this line most likely originated in
Brazil and got passed along via caboclo/mestiço descendants who either moved to
the Azores or passed through (merchant? sailor? other sort of traveler?) and
left some DNA behind.
Interestingly, a Brazilian man who lives near me in South Florida and whose
surname is the same as that of an ancestor of mine whose father was a pai
incógnito has been identified by FTDNA as a likely 2nd-4th cousin, and in our
correspondence so far has noted that there is reputedly indigenous ancestry in
that line, and that that is consistent with his own small amount of indigenous
ancestry that tests show. I'm hoping to find out whether anyone in that line
of his ever traved outside of Brazil... At this point, I have to think that
it's entirely possible that our relationship is the result not of an Azorean
who brought genes to Brazil but of a Brazilian who brought genes to the Azores.
And regardless of whether his line is actually the source of my (apparent)
South American Amerind genes, I got those genes from *somewhere*, so they got
to the Azores *somehow*.
2. Melanesian and Austronesian (i.e., "Malayo-Polynesian"). These results
appear separately, but the simplest explanation for how these genes arrived to
help create me suggests that they go together.
In other words, where the Melanesian and Austronesian worlds meet and overlap,
there are a number of islands where the inhabitants are of mixed Melanesian and
Austronesian ancestry -- and by the way, these also happen to be the very
places where there was an early Portuguese trade presence, and then Portuguese
imperial and military presence, and where a significant mestiço population
quickly arose from unions between local women and Portuguese men: the Moluccas
islands (a.k.a. Maluku), the island of Flores (not the Azorean one, the one now
in eastern Indonesia), and the island of Timor (now split between Indonesia and
Presumably, a member of the mestiço population of one of these islands either
moved to or traveled through the Azores, or else to Portugal or another
location in the Portuguese world, leaving descendants, one of whom ultimately
moved to the Azores, or passed through, and left some of their DNA behind.
So, I know that this group has frequently discussed Portuguese and other
specific European descents in the Azores; Sub-Saharan African contributions to
the Azorean gene pool (and in Portugal before descendants moved to the Azores),
whether through enslaved people or otherwise; Jewish descents via Sephardic and
converso lines; and even Arab and Berber genetic contributions to the
Portuguese and so the Azorean gene pools.
I may not have been paying sufficient attention, but I can't recall having seen
yet any similar discussions here of lines in the Azores that likely reflect
rare gene flows from other parts of the world and other peoples of the world,
in particular from the various mestiço peoples that formed in these other
places that were parts of the Portuguese Empire. My personal examples are, as
far as the data seem to say, apparently only from (indigenous) Brazil and from
Timor/Flores/Moluccas, but similar gene flows might also plausibly have
occurred from Macau/China, from Goa and other parts of Portuguese India, and
maybe from some other places that haven't yet occurred to me.
Have others of you received GEDmatch or other analyses that indicate possible
descent from any of these peoples? It would be interesting to hear from others
who have, and possibly to explore setting up a database to track these lines
together (including gathering together any records that might document the
origins of these lines, e.g., documentation of people known or likely to be
from these peoples who were present in or passed through the Azores).
On the one hand, I suspect that these lines are rare, but still present to some
degree, and on the other hand I believe they could -- precisely because of
their rarity -- provide an interesting tool to tie together some families, all
of whom would stand out from the "haystack" if they not only test as being
related but also share a specific rare-origin line within the larger Azorean
gene pool. Plus, it would be quite interesting (even if unlikely) to be able
to know the actual line of descent back to these peoples and places.
In any event, whether in the group or via private message, I'd love to connect
with others of you who may have encountered lines of this nature, and maybe
explore ways we could collaborate on sharing information.
Of course, it may make sense in any such effort also to bring in known
Sub-Saharan African lines and individuals, even though they are surely
comparatively less rare than these other descents, because the lines are still
sufficiently few in the Azores that it could help connect families in the same
way, as well as in some instances succeed in identifying the person who brought
the line to the Azores. Plus, in lines coming especially from Brazil, Native
lines and Sub-Saharan African lines might often have merged...
Just thinking out loud here a bit.
David da Silva Cornell
Researching the following surnames and places:
Faial - Furtado, Terra, Furtado da Terra (unknown freguesia(s), but signs
currently point to Pedro Miguel)
Flores - Freitas, Lourenço, Coelho (unknown freguesia(s))
Pico - Silveira Cardoso, Macedo, Machado, Pereira Madruga, Ferreira,
Cardoso, Cardoso Machado, Vieira, Bettencourt, Dutra, Castanho, Homem,
Goulart, Quaresma, Moniz, Barreto, Silveira, Pereira, Álvares (all Lajes do
S. Jorge - Silva, Botelho, Azevedo, Cardoso (Urzelina); Silva, Azevedo,
Cardoso (Santo António in Norte Grande)
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